RCI into alleged judicial misconduct premature, says Param Cumaraswamy

PETALING JAYA: It is premature to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into allegations of judicial misconduct based on an affidavit, says Datuk Param Cumaraswamy (pic).

In reference to Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer's 65-page recent affidavit in court in support of an application by filed Sangeet Kaur Deo, Param said it was incumbent on him to prove those allegations, including subject himself to cross examination.

"It is therefore in the interest of justice to expedite the hearing of Sangeet's suit to ascertain whether there is at least a prima facie case for the process of an RCI on the issues raised," he said when contacted on Friday (Feb 22).

Param, who served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers from 1994 to 2003, said that it was unusual for a sitting judge to voluntarily give an affidavit in support of a lay litigant's suit in court and moreover permitting it to be made public before it was read in court.

Recently, Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer filed a 65-page affidavit in court in support of an application by the late Karpal Singh's daughter, Sangeet Kaur Deo, to declare that the Chief Justice had failed to defend the integrity of the judiciary in two cases.

In his affidavit, Hamid had claimed that the scam was carried out by nominees of politicians getting into contracts with the government.

Once the government pulled out, the private parties would take the government to court to claim compensation.

The private parties created contracts with the government to defraud public funds and the apex court was perceived to be sympathetic to them, he said.

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